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Welcome. Thanks for joining.

Women are often unsuspecting about the possible intentions of "friendly" men (especially when they play the game as well in the beginning as your AP did) until alarm bells start going off. Thankfully this didn't end the way many of those "friendships" do. Now you have a chance to rebuild and create a stronger marriage.

(I usually stay away from R threads because they're a major trigger but I wish both of you peace and happiness.)
 

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I cried on the ride home many, many days. And instead of trying to attend my DH and help him through his depression, I put up a wall between us by continuing to engage this creep. This hurts in a way I hope you never feel, never know. It's like a death, to know how much I hurt my DH, and hurt us.

Hi @MrsMM,

I'm glad you're here and I'm glad R is continuing between you and @Music_Man. Just by way of introducing myself, I have been married three times: 1) married young, he was abusive and bipolar, he cheated, we divorced.; 2) married better, lost a baby and found out we'd never be able to have children, l was unfaithful, he had heart failure, he passed two years ago; and 3) just married on Memorial Day weekend. I include this brief introduction so that you know that I've been in your shoes and for me, too, it wasn't like I woke up and thought "Oh I think I'll have an affair today" but rather it was like death by a thousand papercuts. So I believe I have compassion for how it happened and how it feels to be so ashamed of your own self.

However, as people have previously mentioned, I want you to know that the quote above is actually inaccurate. Yes, I do suspect that you honestly hope and pray that people do not know the pain and hurt of being an unfaithful spouse. I get that...it is deeply agonizing and bitter. Yet as I mentioned in my introduction, in my first marriage, my exH cheated on me, and I can say without a doubt there is no greater pain on the planet than knowing that your spouse committed adultery. I've lost a spouse. I've been unfaithful. I've lost a baby at 20 weeks. These were all extremely sorrowful and distressing. Yet just so you know, the trauma of knowing your spouse cheated was the most excruciating pain I've ever known. It doesn't compare.

Now, I'm not here to say "who's pain is worse" because let's be honest--in the instance of a marriage that is trying to TRULY recover after infidelity, both parties are in a ton of pain! I KNOW that you hurt, and I am just as convinced that @Music_Man hurts. So my goal here isn't to minimize your pain or aggrandize his...rather my goal is to fully inform you.

In your instance--in OUR instance as disloyal spouses--we were the pilots flying over the city pressing the button that dropped the bomb. We devasted buildings, homes, villages and killed civilians and military alike. What was a family's home is now a pile of demolished dust because of the buttom we pushed. But we got up that morning and put on the uniform. We got into the plane. We flew over the village. We knew what we were doing and we did it anyway...and felt guilty for what we did.

In the instance of the loyal spouse--they were living in the little clay house, going about their normal life, when a bomb fell out of nowhere and reduced all they loved to dust. Now, maybe prior to the bomb-drop they were not that enamored with the house or the people in the house. Maybe they even wanted to build a new house or redecorate or whatever--there may have been some problems with the house that needed attending--but all of that moot now! The house is less than rubble...everyone inside is dead...and they themselves are mortally wounded.

So I'm just letting you know--I get your sentiment and that you sincerely would not wish this upon your worst enemy. Still, thinking like that is not going to garner a lot of sympathy, only because you're hoping we'll be sad for the pilot who pushed a button rather than sorrowing for all those who died in the blast radius. In fact, I am sorry for the pilot and I'm sure it is a hard burden of guilt to carry, but before I shed a tear for the pilot, I'll be running in to the wounded and dying to see if any of them can be tended to. See what I mean?

Final thought: It seems to me that you've given this some honest thought and faced it pretty squarely, including looking at yourself and where you went wrong. I think that's very encouraging and would strongly encourage you to continue being that courageous and that honest. In the end, that will be what saves you--honestly looking at your own self.
 

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Mrs Music, it sounds like you have and are really doing a lot of soul searching and introspection. Those are very good things.

One thing to remember: guilt and remorse are good things. They help us to examine ourselves and make amends.

Toxic shame, however, never helps US, nor does it ever help those who love us if they are healthy. It seems like your husband is healthy.

If at any time any action you take here on this forum begins to pull you into a spiral of "I am unredeemable" shame, don't be afraid to step back. Taking care of you and your marriage comes first. And while there may be some unhealthy out there who feel they would like a crippled spouse, I don't think your husband is one of them. He has the character of a man who wants a whole woman, even if she made bad choices.

Just because you cheated does not mean you have no right to stand up for yourself.

And no, unless you have been cheated on, you cannot "know" the exact pain. But part of empathy is trying to relate others' pain to your own so that you can try to climb inside their skin and at least approximate how they must be feelings. Because I tried NOT to read your post through the lens of someone who has not recovered from being cheated on (and I have been cheated on), I took your words to mean that you knew your husband was in immense pain, not that you were an expert on his exact pain.

Nit picking is often the habit of those who need to be right.
 

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Discussion Starter #24 (Edited)
And no, unless you have been cheated on, you cannot "know" the exact pain. But part of empathy is trying to relate others' pain to your own so that you can try to climb inside their skin and at least approximate how they must be feelings. Because I tried NOT to read your post through the lens of someone who has not recovered from being cheated on (and I have been cheated on), I took your words to mean that you knew your husband was in immense pain, not that you were an expert on his exact pain.

Nit picking is often the habit of those who need to be right.
You might be the only person who took what I said the way that I meant it. Sorry all, I don't quite have a way with words the way my DH does. I should have added "the pain that I see in his eyes is unbearable, especially when I know that I'm the one who caused it". I wasn't trying to compare pain, at all, so please don't think that.

I also think that others think they can sort of "crack the code" on cheating if I can somehow explain exactly why I did what I did, and why I didn't just stop it if I was becoming so uncomfortable with it. There's just not a single, simple answer, and nothing I say will excuse what I did.

For the crying part, there are several reasons. I cried so much during the last couple of months over guilt and shame as much as anything. I came to the stark realization that he was never interested in my career or me as a person or anything else at all. He wanted one thing and I had been so so blind to it. And I was partly blind to it because I didn't want to see the truth. I didn't want my DH to be right about him. My DH told me very early on, way before we were even texting much as friends, that he was only being friendly to get in my pants. I just couldn't believe that, and I was actually angry that he would even suggest it. My DH has a sixth sense when it comes to people, but I refused to believe it. And when it happened, it was devastating. Betrayal on top of betrayal is how I saw it. I couldn't believe what I had let happen. I also cried for being careless with not only my career but with my profession as well. And yes, I cried that I had allowed another man to say such vile things to me, and even join in at times. I cried over my sins and how I felt isolated from God, from friends. I felt that I wasn't worthy of talking to my friends who were faithful and honest. I felt like a fraud.

Then why not stop it sooner? Pride, arrogance, stupidity, fear, you name it. I felt trapped yet I had control. A simple 'don't text me anymore' and blocking his number would've done it. Too simple though, I suppose. I had to 'figure it out'. But there are several reasons, none of them good, but reasons nonetheless. One is that- and this is not to minimize things AT ALL- again, we didn't text every day. I think the days and sometimes weeks between texting helped me to have sort of a small recovery (talked about this in IC). I could get him out of my head, and since I was deleting texts, it really was out of sight out of mind for a short period. Another reason is that I was simply hoping he would be nice to me again, like in the beginning. I thought if I could steer the conversation away from sex that he could just be a friend again and our work relationship wouldn't suffer. Again, pride and arrogance to think that I could sway this creep. I had seen him angry at other people, and I did not want to be on the other end of one of his explosions, so I'm sure that was a factor in some way.

I stopped it from my end once he started trying to take it to the next level. He tried, in between asking me to meet him somewhere, to initiate the sex talk again. But at this point, I was done. I saw him for who he was and what he truly wanted all along. He asked once more in a final sort of way, then told me it was over. He followed up by calling me a tease and a waste of his time. I felt lower than pond scum. Not only had I fallen for his plan and betrayed my DH, but now I had to face him at work 2 days per week. It was horrible. He turned into a monster. I felt like I had let so many people down, including my team. I knew I had to leave, I had to get away from him. Hours were being cut, and I was working a day or 2 per week at another facility. I went down the hall, cried my eyes out and prayed like I had never prayed before. The next day, the other place I had been working offered me a full time job and I jumped at it. God's timing worked for us, and set the tone for our future.

Whew! I've said a lot, maybe too much. Triggers galore. I said a lot here today because I may not be around much over the next few weeks. I'll be back at some point. I hope those that have had questions have gotten their answers. I'll be back at some point to touch on the years in between the end and D-day.

Edited to say- not looking for sympathy either. I know what I did, and I take full responsibility.
 

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One common thing I have noticed across many of these stories is how spouses who notice something isn't quite right, and let their uneasiness be known, only to be seen as an adversary.

Why didn't you want your husband to be right about the doctor? The doctor was just some guy you interacted with on an infrequent basis in a professional setting, so what did it really matter if he was? Why didn't you believe or trust your husband that there was something amiss? Don't you trust that your husband is actually looking out for you and the best interests of your relationship?
 

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Mrs M, I know that there were times in my first marriage that I felt.....invisible. And sometimes, because my husband had trouble keeping a job, I felt...guilty? for my success. And when we had conflict, most of the time I just ended up backing off or apologizing to make it peaceful or okay again. It's hard to explain. I do think a lot of women do this, and it is NOT because "men are mean." We communicate differently. What he truly saw as logic and help, I felt as dismissal or control. I got into this pattern of feeling dismissed and invisible and emotionally drained and "not right" most of the time. I am not even saying that my perception was accurate. It just was.

So I know there were times that, looking back, my ex was right about a few things, and I just....couldn't see it and didn't see it because I just didn't want to be wrong "again." I didn't want to be stupid "again." It is entirely possible that some of these times MY feelings were all me and not about him or what he was doing. But it still felt real. If I was wrong about X, that meant I was stupid and a fool and less....worthy?

Like I said, it is hard to explain. Could it be that while a man might see it in a linear way: "she didn't listen to me about dude = she doesn't trust me = I am not important"

But for a woman who has these feelings of being less or wrong already....for some reason one thing or another becomes the great hill of denial to die on.

I know for a couple of years my ex told me I was too absorbed in my job. I told him he was wrong. Honestly, he was right. But my job was the one place I felt competent and the one place I regularly heard I was competent. That isn't a slam against him. It was just how it was. So for me, if he was right, it was taking away something I needed at the time - to feel valuable and good enough.

So whiole it might make sense to a man, to say you didn't listen because you don't trust your husband is so amazingly and predictably simplistic.

Does any of this resonate?
 

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Mrs M, I know that there were times in my first marriage that I felt.....invisible. And sometimes, because my husband had trouble keeping a job, I felt...guilty? for my success. And when we had conflict, most of the time I just ended up backing off or apologizing to make it peaceful or okay again. It's hard to explain. I do think a lot of women do this, and it is NOT because "men are mean." We communicate differently. What he truly saw as logic and help, I felt as dismissal or control. I got into this pattern of feeling dismissed and invisible and emotionally drained and "not right" most of the time. I am not even saying that my perception was accurate. It just was.

So I know there were times that, looking back, my ex was right about a few things, and I just....couldn't see it and didn't see it because I just didn't want to be wrong "again." I didn't want to be stupid "again." It is entirely possible that some of these times MY feelings were all me and not about him or what he was doing. But it still felt real. If I was wrong about X, that meant I was stupid and a fool and less....worthy?

Like I said, it is hard to explain. Could it be that while a man might see it in a linear way: "she didn't listen to me about dude = she doesn't trust me = I am not important"

But for a woman who has these feelings of being less or wrong already....for some reason one thing or another becomes the great hill of denial to die on.

I know for a couple of years my ex told me I was too absorbed in my job. I told him he was wrong. Honestly, he was right. But my job was the one place I felt competent and the one place I regularly heard I was competent. That isn't a slam against him. It was just how it was. So for me, if he was right, it was taking away something I needed at the time - to feel valuable and good enough.

So whiole it might make sense to a man, to say you didn't listen because you don't trust your husband is so amazingly and predictably simplistic.

Does any of this resonate?
Perhaps "not trusting" was poor wording on my part. Let me try and explain it from my own perspective. It is almost reflex on my part that if it is potentially something big and my wife tells me something makes her uncomfortable, or she doesn't trust someone, what ever it is is stopped immediately because I "trust" her judgement and feelings implicitly. My feelings and reactions stem from my belief that she has mine and our relationships best interest first and foremost. If she is uncomfortable, why do I need any more reason than that?
 

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One common thing I have noticed across many of these stories is how spouses who notice something isn't quite right, and let their uneasiness be known, only to be seen as an adversary.

Why didn't you want your husband to be right about the doctor? The doctor was just some guy you interacted with on an infrequent basis in a professional setting, so what did it really matter if he was? Why didn't you believe or trust your husband that there was something amiss? Don't you trust that your husband is actually looking out for you and the best interests of your relationship?
I'll chime in here, as I'm not sure when or even if W will be back anytime soon, and this was a major point of contention for me. I won't rehash our MC sessions here in public, but I can tell you this is one of the hardest things I've had to reconcile- why she wouldn't listen to me, and then ended up nearly destroying us over someone I had identified as a potential problem. That's a tough pill to swallow, any way you look at it.

Short answer? Pride. She thought if I could tell this guy was a jerk, why couldn't she? She didn't detect anything, and she would know if he had designs on her, right? I mean, after all, I wasn't around him enough to really 'know' him.

Which, makes perfect sense if you're in her shoes. He had done nothing to prove me right to this point, nor for months after.

For a better explanation, read the reply from @personofinterest Lot of similarities with regards to how my W saw this.
 

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Sometimes the "right" person is ignored.

I was asked my opinion about something at work and everyone ignored me. In such a way as I felt snubbed.

Eventually the negative result which I warned them about came to fruition. And everyone said: "Why didn't anyone tell us this might happen?"

Before I could say anything a female colleague said: "That's funny. Because I distinctly remember Matt offering his opinion and we chose to ignore him, so don't say nobody told you!"
 

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I'll chime in here, as I'm not sure when or even if W will be back anytime soon, and this was a major point of contention for me. I won't rehash our MC sessions here in public, but I can tell you this is one of the hardest things I've had to reconcile- why she wouldn't listen to me, and then ended up nearly destroying us over someone I had identified as a potential problem. That's a tough pill to swallow, any way you look at it.

Short answer? Pride. She thought if I could tell this guy was a jerk, why couldn't she? She didn't detect anything, and she would know if he had designs on her, right? I mean, after all, I wasn't around him enough to really 'know' him.

Which, makes perfect sense if you're in her shoes. He had done nothing to prove me right to this point, nor for months after.

For a better explanation, read the reply from @personofinterest Lot of similarities with regards to how my W saw this.
Not really related... But what @personofinterest said, and your wife's issue and you feeling of not being listened too, they are related... but how...

Me and GF have the same issue, and for the life of me I don't know why. She will ask a question, I answer it, she then googles the question, and is surprised when I am correct EVERY SINGLE TIME.

If this has happened once it has happened a 1000 times... Never once was I controlling, never once did I call her stupid for not knowing the answer, none of that. I just remember some things. Not everything either just some stuff I retain.

And I am the same way with people, I have the 6th sense. And I am always right, ever single time. If I don't like someone, there is a reason, so I listen to my 6th sense...

But you ask me a question, and then don't trust the answer even though I am right ever single time...

WTF is up with that... What is that about?

I just don't get it...
 

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I think it is pretty typical for couples to have this type of discussion. Spouse warns other spouse about someone that they don't trust. The other spouse writes it off as they are being jealous. Or they write it off as they don't understand the relationship. I am sure there are many times where the spouse warning was correct and many times when they weren't.

So I wouldn't blame your wife for not listening to your warning.
 

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I'll chime in here, as I'm not sure when or even if W will be back anytime soon, and this was a major point of contention for me. I won't rehash our MC sessions here in public, but I can tell you this is one of the hardest things I've had to reconcile- why she wouldn't listen to me, and then ended up nearly destroying us over someone I had identified as a potential problem. That's a tough pill to swallow, any way you look at it.

Short answer? Pride. She thought if I could tell this guy was a jerk, why couldn't she? She didn't detect anything, and she would know if he had designs on her, right? I mean, after all, I wasn't around him enough to really 'know' him.

Which, makes perfect sense if you're in her shoes. He had done nothing to prove me right to this point, nor for months after.

For a better explanation, read the reply from @personofinterest Lot of similarities with regards to how my W saw this.
Pride goeth before the fall...

I think there is also an element of defensiveness and stubbornness, and a deep seated desire to be right, which on a subconscious level can lead people to take actions to prove themselves right, even when there is absolutely nothing to be gained.
 

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I think it is pretty typical for couples to have this type of discussion. Spouse warns other spouse about someone that they don't trust. The other spouse writes it off as they are being jealous. Or they write it off as they don't understand the relationship. I am sure there are many times where the spouse warning was correct and many times when they weren't.

So I wouldn't blame your wife for not listening to your warning.
So in other words, one spouse is rationalizing away the concerns of the other spouse. A classic, yet subtle example of "It's either me or him" and she chooses him.
 

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Pride goeth before the fall...



I think there is also an element of defensiveness and stubbornness, and a deep seated desire to be right, which on a subconscious level can lead people to take actions to prove themselves right, even when there is absolutely nothing to be gained.
Well said.
 

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The need to be right isn't just limited to in Fidelity or wayward spouses. I think sometimes in our subconscious desire to be right, coupled with the fact that maybe our own situations didn't go so well, we can be guilty of sabotage.
Oh, no doubt, not just infidelity, but not many things have as serious of consequences if you are wrong. If my wife were to possibly see something that I may have possibly missed, I am going to err on the side of my wife. The possible consequences just aren't worth the risk to me.
 

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I don't know what you went through, but I felt the same way. I lost both parents to a car accident at a young age, and this was worse for me. Some will scoff at that notion, as there have been far far worse affairs in these forums, but it's true. The pain isn't something I'd wish on anyone.
Well I am sure you are not surprised I have some thoughts on this.

I think part of it is the sense of loss of control, it is almost like if you have ever been robbed. There is a sudden realization that your stuff is not safe, not really. The same holds true for this it's the loss of perceived agency in your life, I say perceived though because the truth is when you give your life to someone you really give up a great deal of your agency. You never really had that agency to begin with at that point you just were not acutely aware as you are now. But I think once you get that you can learn to live with that fact. Besides you don't just get robbed you get robbed by the person you trust the most so it's a double whammy.

Then there is the loss of innocence, and everyone who gets cheated on understands this, it's why we say it changes you. That is what changes. It's the rare person who doesn't experience this at least once in life. It just unfortunately for some it happens after a great amount of investment. So I think for most people, and at least for me one of the ways I was able assure my safety is that I was never as emotionally vulnerable after being cheated on as I was before. In the back of my mind I am aware that my wife could cheat and my marriage would be over tomorrow. (For me personally I have never heard a story where there was full on cheating that I would want that marriage after the fact. It just holds no appeal for me, and there are many reasons why. Valuing safety in my personal space being paramount.) So because I am aware of that I don't love with the same kind of abandon that I did before. I have heard it said and I believe as well that that is not necessarily a good way to love anyway. Life isn't fairy tails and everything in this life ends anyway. Even the best marriages end at some point.

I get there is insecurity as well that is brought on by this, but I didn't suffer from that as much. (Probably lots of people on here are not surprised. :laugh:) I think this is because I always judged my value by my character and not my sex count, or attractiveness or so forth. I always felt like I did the best I could and I understood in life that sometimes you can do your best and still lose. I also knew my worth and knew it was her loss. She also seemed to want me still in her own messed up way so that helped. But even still, I was confident my chance for love was over at that point. I was convinced of that, I felt like it took me so long to find this one maybe that was my only chance. But it took me long at the time because I was young and not confident enough about other stuff to project confidence. Once I got that in check I never again had trouble finding dates. One thing that did bug me was how did I miss the signs. But if I am honest I did see them I just was willing at the time to overlook them or not confront them. Today I wouldn't not even have bother to get so close to the person who cheated on me, she would be uninteresting partly because of the red flags. But I was young and dumb. I feel like you saw the signs too and warned your wife about them.

Finally though I think there is a morning that comes from this. What you are really morning is the person you thought you had. I know at the time you could have told me the earth was going to blow up in 24 hours and I would have easily believed that before I would believe that this women would cheat on me. We were in the throws of deep love at least I thought we were. So It was morning this love I had. I actually think that is a great big part of the sorrow. I think it's a very rare WS who understands this. There is a deep disillusionment that an affair casts on a person who cheats, and on that relationship. And when you were used to seeing your relationship as a point of security and pride, all of a sudden seeing that your SO treated it as worthless changes your perspective greatly. Also if you are like me, seeing your partner acting in a way that you have no respect for, causes you to lose respect. The bond is broken and there is great sadness in that because you valued that bond. Again I am not really sure a lot of WS have any feelings of a bond at all. Which is why it's a waste to try to hold onto that when they didn't even believe in it in the first place.

I do think that respect can be regained with hard work. But you still have to go through the morning process. The best thing you can take out of all of this though is to realize that once you get through this, and you will, if you can get through this you can get through anything. I am a much harder person because of what happened, and that has served me well through some other tragic things that have happened in my life. Most of it is just time.
 

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But @MrsMM knows all about Doctors and related medical stuff not her husbands area of expertise, see?

Oh! But it was his area of expertise!

She saw this:



But @Music_Man saw this:-



Why the difference perception?

Because Music_Man knew something that MrsMM had never seen and did not know. Music_Man knew how attractive MrsMM is. He saw her how Doctor Dirty saw her. As an attractive woman.
 

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Well said.
To some extent I agree but it depends what kind of relationship you have. Some marriages are contentious where there is tension when this kind of stuff comes up. But it doesn't seem like your MO is to always warn her against other men being snakes. It also doesn't seem like she doesn't value your opinion.

Which is why I think you both need to be open to the fact that on some level she knew but enjoyed it enough to continue anyway. The thought being I can just dip my toe in here and no one will get hurt. I think it just got away from her. After all it's nice to have someone who again on your job is well respected, pay attention to you. That is the thing with relationships and boundaries they need to be in place when things seem harmless, to avoid having to test them when things get hard.

I get this thought is more painful but it seems more reasonable as well. You also can't say that she hasn't been shown to be willing to push boundaries for good feelings. I mean she pretty much showed she was willing to do that. What I am trying to say here is I think the boundary pushing was happening a lot early in this process then maybe you or even she realizes, or wants to admit even to herself. And it's important to be aware of it so it doesn't happen again.
 

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@MattMatt

Hammer, meet nail. EXACTLY right. He saw what I saw.

As I told my W, when they announced these two new doctors and they came in for that first meeting, I'm quite certain POSOM was looking at the 'talent'. When he was introduced to Mrs. MM, I'm betting he could barely contain his smile.

He wouldn't even have to roam the halls or hangout elsewhere- one of the best looking employees in the hospital would be right there in front of him. What a prick.
 
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